KPU instructor honoured for literacy work across B.C.

Tue, Aug 26, 2014

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – The British Columbia Library Trustees Association recently honoured Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) school of business instructor John Shepherd for his dedicated community work throughout the province.

Currently vice-chair of the Surrey Libraries board, Shepherd was recognized with the Nancy Bennett Merit Award, presented annually to a trustee who has “contributed to library service provincially or regionally.”

Shepherd has done both.

Growing up, his mother – a teacher-librarian – would drop him off at a public library in north Kamloops on her way to work. “It kept me out of trouble,” Shepherd explained. “And in that line of thinking – there are a lot of remote communities that don’t offer a lot for youth. It’s these places that could benefit from a library.”

Shepherd's upbringing inspired his involvement with libraries across the province, with service on the boards of public libraries in Prince Rupert, Prince George and, since 2010, Surrey.

With the North Delta Rotary Club – as a member and past-president – Shepherd serves on his club’s Ditidaht Library project committee, which is installing a library in the First Nation community of Ditidaht on Vancouver Island.

The initiative is part of former Lieutenant Governor Steven Point’s Write to Read Project, which aims to improve literacy in First Nations communities across British Columbia. A joint initiative between the government, Rotary clubs and local businesses, over a half-dozen aboriginal libraries have opened to date, including several in communities only accessible by boat or float plane.

“You don’t have to go to a developing country to experience third world conditions, all you have to do is visit a remote First Nations community,” said Shepherd, adding the Ditidaht library will be unveiled this September.

Locally, the Surrey resident has also participated in Rotary club literacy programs, including the annual delivery of Rotary dictionaries to Grade 3 students in North Delta.

On his award, and reflecting on his years of community service, Shepherd says he is honoured, but claims no credit.

“It takes a team to get things done,” he said. “It is nice to be recognized, but all these projects are the result of dedicated individuals who want to make a difference. It has been a pleasure to work with truly amazing individuals. Besides, what’s the point of having skills in finance and project management without putting them to use?” laughed the KPU accounting instructor.

Shepherd’s background includes economic development and finance. After completing a bachelor of science in zoology, he added two masters degrees – an MBA from UBC and a master of science in strategic focus from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh – along with a couple of professional certifications, including his Certified General Accountant designation.

“John is a great role model for young people going into business, or the accounting profession. Throughout his career he has contributed countless hours of service to creating a caring community,” said Wayne Tebb, dean of KPU’s school of business.

Shepherd has extensive experience applying his educational background outside of the classroom, with projects that involve his students. A past project with the Prince George Public Library had business students analyzing the library's systems, figuring out how to place library collections onto the balance sheet and prototyping a new library performance measure.

The project led to $300,000 in municipal funding, two student volunteers landing jobs and six receiving university scholarships. 

“When an employer is faced with a pile of resumes, it’s a big plus to show you have had a hand in something, start-to-finish, that has made an impact on others,” Shepherd said.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Caption: John Shepherd with fellow North Delta Rotary Club member Lornell Ridley carrying boxes of Rotary dictionaries.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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